Sunday, May 22, 2011

We were made for Prayer

Fifth Sunday of Easter Year A

We often complain about our busy schedule. There is so much to do at work. So many responsibilities and worries. When we return home, there are other things to worry about. Sometimes, we can say the same thing about Church work. Many of us are so preoccupied with our work, whether at home, or in the office or at church, or in the BEC, that we give excuses for not having time for prayer. We may think: “We’re doing a great deal of good works, be it church work, house work or responsibilities at our working place. God will surely understand my situation.” As our busy schedule increases, our prayer time decreases.

St. Peter in the second reading reminds us that we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called (us) out of darkness into his wonderful light.” In other words, we were made for prayer. This is our goal and purpose in life – to give praise to God through our words and actions.

Very often we forget this important truth about ourselves. We neglect our prayers because we think that God wants to see action that bear results rather than just useless prayers. Prayers are never useless. In fact, our actions must flow from our prayers. Praying helps us to stay focus. It reminds us that we are doing the work of God and not our own. Prayer reminds us that we are not in control – God is in control.

In the first reading, the apostles recognized a problem in the community that required their immediate action. A certain section of their community, the widows, was being overlooked in the daily distribution of aid. A tension/ conflict arose between the priority given to prayer and their duty to social justice. This tension was resolved by the appointment of seven deacons to help in the distribution of goods so that the apostles “can continue to devote themselves to prayer and to the service of the word.” The apostles recognized that the strength and unity of the community depended on prayer and the word of God. At the same time, they recognized the mission entrusted to them by Jesus to bring good news to the poor and the weak. These two realities were not in conflict. Both complimented each other.

Jesus tells his disciples at the beginning of today’s gospel: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust in me.” These words are so reassuring. They remind us that we need to place our trust in God. These words challenge us to place all our worries, fears and problems in the hands of God and allow him to take control of our lives. We must remember that we cannot do everything. There will be many problems that we will not be able to find a solution to. But we trust that God is in control. He will take charge of our lives and take care of our every need. Prayer affirms this.

Let us renew our commitment to prayer. It is when we are busy, when we are faced with so many responsibilities and problems, that we must find more time to turn to God in prayer. This is because we know that we can never do it alone. All things are possible only with God.

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